Stem Cell Bill Reintroduced

Published: January 8, 2007  |  Source: unitedspinal.org
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ACTION ALERT: Stem Cell Bill Reintroduced – Tell Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor the Bill!

Good news — the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives on Friday, January 5. An identical bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate very soon. Congressional leadership has made this bill a top priority, with a vote in the full House of Representatives currently scheduled for Thursday, January 11. The House bill, H.R. 5, was introduced by Representative Diana DeGette (D-Co) and had 211 bi-partisan cosponsors at the time of introduction.

This legislation will make embryonic stem cells available for researchers to work with – so that they can explore the great potential for cures for spinal cord injuries and disorders and other serious conditions. Strict ethical requirements will insure that only embryos that would otherwise be discarded may be used.

ACTION: Tell your members of Congress that Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 means hope for better life for people with spinal cord injuries and disorders. Ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3 and your Senators to cosponsor S. 5. If your Representative is already a cosponsor of H.R. 3, be sure to thank them for their support.

To call your Senators or Representative: Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office of the Senator or Representative.

To identify or email your Senators: Go to www.senate.gov, and select “Senators,” then your state, and then click on the web form links.

To identify or email your Senators: Go to www.senate.gov, and select “Senators,” then your state, and then click on the web form links.

To identify or email your Representative: Go to www.house.gov, select House Directory, then select “Write your Representative” (the 4th link from the top in the left column), and follow the instructions provided.

A sample letter is below. Feel free to use all or part of it in composing your email.

For more information, please contact Peggy Hathaway, Senior Policy Associate, or Alaine Perry, Director of Public Policy, at 301-495-4460.

Thank you for your advocacy!

Sample Letter to Member of Congress

Dear ______________________:

Please cosponsor the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R.3/S.5). Stem cell research shows great promise for curing injuries and diseases – including paralysis from spinal cord injuries or disorders.

Passage of this bill will give hope for a better life to people with spinal cord injuries and disorders and other serious conditions.

[OPTIONAL: Please tell your personal story to your Representative or Senator and explain how this bill gives you hope for yourself or a loved one. Your personal experience makes a big impact on your Representative and Senators.]

Failure to enact this legislation significantly limits the potential for stem cell researchers to find ways to cure paralysis and other serious conditions. In addition to helping individuals, stem cell research can save billions of dollars in health care costs.

I strongly urge you to cosponsor and vote for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007. Please urge your colleagues to support it too.

Sincerely,
[Your Full Name]
[Your organization, if applicable]
[Full Address]

Additional Background Information:

Current federal policy greatly limits stem research because so few stem cell lines are available. This legislation would allow research using embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics.

The legislation imposes strict ethical requirements. The embryos must meet 4 criteria: they must have been: (1) donated from in vitro fertilization clinics; (2) created for the purposes of fertility treatment; (3) in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking fertility treatment and would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded (as determined in consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment); and (4) donated by these individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.

Speaker Pelosi has made this legislation one of her First 100 Hours priorities. The House bill (H.R. 3) is identical to the bill passed by the last Congress but vetoed by President Bush, the Stem Cell Enhancement Research Act of 2006 (H.R. 810). The Senate bill (S. 5) is expected to be identical also. The House bill is sponsored by Diana DeGette (D-CO) and was introduced with 211 cosponsors. For the Senate stem cell bill introduced in the last Congress, the original cosponsors were Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR). The same Senators are expected to cosponsors this year’s bill.